HB478: Tax Relief and Gun Rights Rolled Into One

By Brian S. Stewart

Ohio gun owners could get some tax relief to go along with their concealed handgun license if a recently introduced bill in the Ohio House of Representatives is passed.

HB478, sponsored by State Representative Dan Dodd (D-Hebron), would "allow a refundable tax credit against the personal income tax for concealed-carry license fees." Every dollar you pay out for your license would be reimbursed by the state at tax time.

"I believe this is a constitutional right, so when you consider that applicants already have to pay for the certification class, this bill would help reduce some of their costs," Dodd explained. He also added that the current system "basically penalizes someone for successfully passing a background check" by levying a fee. During an interview Dodd said that eliminating the fee altogether would put a financial burden on the sheriffs, who would still have to pay for the background checks, so a tax credit is a better idea.

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany), Rep. Stephen Dyer (D-Green), and Rep. Linda S. Bolon (D-East Palestine).

In my county, CHLs are currently $55 for Ohioans living in the state for more than 5 years. Individuals who have been in the state less than 5 years owe $79. And as Representative Dodd mentioned, most applicants (military veterans excluded) have to pay for a certification course. All tallied, law-abiding gun owners can find themselves writing a substantial check for the privilege of exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

We do not owe the government a fee for the freedom of speech, nor does the Columbus Dispatch write a check for its freedom of the press. One does not have to pay the sheriff's office to ensure protection from unlawful search and seizure. These are civil rights, and the government does not levy fees for exercising them. The right to bear arms should be no different.

HB478 would erase a large portion of the financial burden of a concealed handgun license. Contact your legislator and encourage them to sign on as a co-sponsor and make sure this bill is passed.

Click here to download HB478 and read it for yourself (.pdf).

Brian S. Stewart is a former infantryman and an Iraq War veteran. He recently graduated from the Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science.

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